The first round of 2019 is underway where a lot has changed, a lot has stayed the same and Kevin Tway grabbed the first round lead thanks to a bogey-free seven under 66.
Tway, who played Kapalua at aged 15 with his dad Bob, holds a slender one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Gary Woodland.
That Johnson, the defending champion, and Thomas, the winner two years ago, are in contention is little surprise. Also not raising eyebrows (anymore) is Cameron Champ; the big-hitter one of two players to hit a drive beyond the 400-yard mark.
Kevin Na pulled out of the event after a fractured finger while Bryson DeChambeau did exactly what he said he would … putt with the flagstick in under the new Rules of Golf.
Did it work? He leads the field in strokes gained putting and perfectly illustrated his method on the penultimate green by rolling in a 15-footer for par with the stick in.
Tway, who plays this week after securing the Safeway Open champion is one of nine newcomers, started off fast and never looked back.
He hit his tee shot on the par-3 second hole to two feet, followed that with a wedge to 10 feet for birdie on the next hole and really never came close to a bogey.
He may however look back overnight with a two-time winner and former world number one in the chasing pack.
Johnson has never shot over par in 32 rounds since coming here for the first time 10 years ago. He showed his experience on the par-5 18th, when he missed the green to the right and faced an extremely fast putt with the grain and wind. Instead, he used a wedge to get some spin and remove some of the break in the putt, and it left him a short birdie putt for a 67.
‘First round of the year, I’m pretty pleased with it,’ Johnson said.
Rory McIlroy birdied three of his last four holes for a 69 in his first competitive round on the Plantation course.
‘I think anything in the 60s today was a good start,’ he said.
Not enjoying all the low scoring and good vibes? Brooks Koepka.
The reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year had five bogeys and a double bogey on his way to a 76.
First round leaderboard (USA unless noted, par 73):
66 – Kevin Tway
67 – Gary Woodland, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson
68 – Marc Leishman (AUS)
69 – Andrew Putnam, Andrew Landry, Patton Kizzire, Jason Day (AUS), Rory McIlroy (NIR), Bryson DeChambeau
70 – Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm (ESP), Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson
71 – Cameron Champ, Michael Kim, Ian Poulter (ENG)
Photo: Getty Images